Six companies, including BASF, shared the latest advancements in seed treatment as part of the Seed Treatment Education Tour Dec. 11 during the CSS & Seed Expo. (John Reidy photos)

Chicago, IL (December 18, 2019) – The American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) held a Seed Treatment Educational Tour for the second year Dec. 11 during the CSS & Seed Expo 2019 in Chicago, IL.

The event provided six companies the opportunity to make hands-on presentations about seed treatment. The companies shared the latest advancements in seed treatment.

“We wanted to demonstrate the new technology and show how to improve and be sustainable in the industry,” says Keri Carstens, vice chairman of ASTA’s seed treatment committee.

ASTA has provided a lot of education with outreach to growers about seed treatment, says Jane DeMarchi, vice president, government and regulatory affairs.

DeMarchi says one of its efforts includes developing the Guide to Seed Treatment Stewardship. She adds social media campaigns have also served as a reminder about how to be careful while handling treated seed.

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Keri Carstens

Carstens, who is the Global Regulatory Crop Protection Business Enablement Leader for Corteva Agriscience, says the company has developed a new and novel product, Lumisena, a fungicide seed treatment. The seed treatment is designed to provide a new mode of action against downy mildew.

“What it does to protect roots is pretty amazing,” Carstens says.

She says Corteva has reached out to regulators to help explain how seed treatments work.

“There is extraordinary pressure on the technology,” Carstens says. “Bringing new products can be challenging, but we need new products to work.”

Carstens adds the company has provided tours of its facilities either in person or through webinars.

“We’ve found that to be an effective tool,” Carstens says. “It’s a virtual way, not fancy technology, that has worked very well. We’ve found ways to provide education and outreach by opening our doors.”

She points out online videos can also be effective as farmers can be a captive audience while sitting in their cabs.


Dale Ireland

Sygnenta released the Saltro seed treatment in September, says Dale Ireland, Technical Product Lead - Seedcare U.S. Soybean & Corn - Syngenta Crop Protection.

Ireland says Saltro is designed to protect against sudden death syndrome (SDS) and nematodes. He explains how growers can use Saltro to reduce soybean seedling stress while protecting against SDS and soybean cyst nematodes (SCN).

“It’s a brand new product,” Ireland says. “It’s a significant development in sudden death syndrome management.”

The impact from early season diseases can greatly hinder genetics from reaching their maximum yield potential, Ireland says. He adds that’s why it’s important to find ways to reduce the amount of stress soybean seedling endure so greater yield potential can be unlocked.


Amanda Ver Heist

It's important for seed treatments to stay on the seed, SGS Contract Research Director Amanda Ver Heist says.

Assessments can help ensure seed treatments remains in place as predicted, she says.

“Mechanical assessments of seed treatment amendments are important tool to determine how those products are going to perform in commercial applications,” Ver Heist says.

Ver Heist notes SGS offers three assessments, including dust off testing, plantability, and flowability. She explained the processes for each of the tests.

Dust off testing is used to measure the amount of free floating particles and abrasion particles or the dust created by mechanically stressing the seed, Ver Heist says. She adds plantability and flowability tests are used to determine how the seed treatments will act as they flow through a planter or other device.

Loading rate analysis is used to ensure that the amount of active products are applied to the seed correctly.

The testing is important so that chemicals stay on the seed and are as effective as possible, Ver Heist says. Seed treatments can also have an impact on the environment as well as human health, so she adds it’s important for safety for them to adhere to the seed.


Ruhiyyih Dyrdahl-Young

Parasitic nematodes threaten corn and soybeans every season, says Ruhiyyih Dyrdahl-Young, a BASF regional technical representative.

The pests weaken the plants and reduce yields, so she says early season protection is critical.

Dyrdahl-Young explains multiple management practices are needed to defend against crop damage.

Two kinds of nematodes can affect corn, Dyrdahl-Young says. Endoparasites are found inside the root, while ectoparasites feed outside the root. Knowing which type is impacting the plant can change the way the pests are managed.

Soybean cyst nematode is a devasting parasite for the crop. It can be a silent yield robber, she says. To protect against it, Dyrdahl-Young recommends soil testing, use a resistant variety, non-host crop, and nematode protectant seed treatment such as ILEVO.

Eurofins BioDiagnostics

Craig Nelson

Seed treatment loading rate analysis determines the accuracy of the application of seed treatments on a wide variety of seeds, Eurofins BioDiagnostics Vice President Craig Nelson says.

According to Nelson, analysis is important so seed treatments aren’t underapplied, resulting in a loss of protection. He points out excess seed treatment that is applied can waste more money than necessary, damage the seed, and hinder the germplasm.

Nelson notes applying the correct amount of seed treatment can help to manage liability and protect the reputation of a seed treatment business. Additionally, Nelson says treatment load testing can be used to confirm compliance with local, state, and federal laws.

“With so many different components being added to the seed, conducting treatment loading rate analysis is an important piece of a robust quality assurance process,” Nelson says.

Testing ensures seed performs as expected, Nelson says. Eurofins uses HPLC methods to verify treatment application rates, helping customers achieve desired application, he says.

Sources of variability can occur, so Nelson explains controls throughout the process ensure accuracy every step of the way.

Process controls, he adds, also ensure consistency from batch to batch and limit the sources of variability.


Mark Foster

The convergence of highly effective seed treatments coupled with an improved understanding of field by field agronomic needs will enable farmers to utilize customized seed treatment solutions, says Mark Foster, Bayer seed growth portfolio manager.

“We want to ensure something works on most acres,” Foster says. “The market is changing rapidly. Customers demand more profit.”

Few plants are the same, so Foster says maximizing yield requires sophistication such as applying a seed treatment product on a specific variety. Foster points out solutions are delivered via innovation in seed treatments, application equipment, and digital technology.

“You can solve problems by applying products correctly,” Foster says. “It’s about applying the right product for the right pests and not over or under applying.”

He adds the right rate and product can now be managed through computer-based applications.

Written by Chris Lusvardi, Seed Today editor

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ASTA Debuts Ag Tech Innovations Showcase During CSS & Seed Expo 2019 12/17

New Breeding Technologies Detailed As ASTA's CSS & Seed Expo 2019 Wraps Up 12/12

Hemp Seed Opportunities and Challenges Discussed During CSS & Seed Expo 2019 12/11

Seed Company Leaders Discuss Thriving Amongst the Giants During ASTA's CSS & Seed Expo 2019 12/10

ASTA Announces Winner of Third Annual “Better Seed, Better Life” Student Video Contest 12/10

ASTA's CSS & Seed Expo 2019 Starts With Presentations Including "Field Applications in Digital Agriculture" 12/09